A Higher Authority
8 And Jesus said to him, Rise take up your bed and walk.” 9 And Immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said to Him who was cured, “ It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”
11 He answered, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’”
12 Then they asked him, “who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk?’” 13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”
15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
I really like the fact, that this man who was healed made no attempt to justify his actions in terms of Jewish law, but instead appealed to the higher authority that his experiences had shown him. No doubt he was carrying his bed on the Sabbath, but what was he to do, leave it beside the pool to collect at a later time or carry it to his home. Why of course, he did what any of us would do, and that is carry it home.
I can imagine the surprised look upon the face of his family as he came rejoicing and walking to his humble house of his family.
However, within the community of faith, there were those that were very unhappy for they felt that He was breaking the Sabbath by working.
So, what was Jesus’ purpose to have this man openly carry his bed upon the Sabbath. It was an attempt by Jesus to openly challenge the rabbinical Sabbath regulations which made the Sabbath a burden and not a delight.
Nearly 200 years earlier, in an attempt to keep out the Greek influence upon Judaism the Pharisees created a set of law that told the Jews what they could and could not do on the Sabbath. Because if you were keeping all the laws, then you would have to keeping the day holy.
That is the simple answer for what was happening with all these man-made rules and traditions that had nothing to do with the actual law of God but were all manmade laws and traditions.
Therefore, Jesus had this man take up his bed and walk when the city was filled with visitors for the Passover Feast. In this way, Christ dramatized His rejection of such traditions by performing a miracle and publicizing it by having the man carry his bed, demonstrating the importance He attached to the question ask the by the religious leaders, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”
Strangely the healing that took place seemed to be secondary to the fact that he was working, by carrying of burdens, his own bed, on the Sabbath.
Yet our newly healed friend made no attempt to justify his actions, but instead pointed to a higher authority, “The one that healed me.”
Jesus did not want to involve himself in the debate with he Jews, but by a concrete and striking act to demonstrate the nature of true Sabbath-keeping and to show the falsity of the traditional restrictions with which the Pharisees sought to bind their nation.
Later in the temple, Jesus sought out this man He had just healed. Jesus found him praising God for the miracle that had been done in his life. Christ had one more miracle to perform for this formally crippled man.
It was the mans own sinful nature that had caused him to become crippled and now Jesus said to him. “Sin no more.” Or perhaps as it states it in the Greek, “Do not go on sinning.”
Not only did Jesus denounce the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and all their man-made traditions regarding the Sabbath, which made the Sabbath a burden and not a delight, but he showed the intimate relationship between physical healing and forgiveness of sins and the healing of man beside the pool.
Christ the source of living water granted to this man both physical and spiritual healing and he makes this same offer to you and I today.
Often we think that we are granted physical healing and spiritual forgiveness and can continue in same old ways as before. But Jesus tells our former cripple to be careful not to slip into former habits or a worse thing could happen to him.
Those that have been physically and spiritually restored have a difficult time keeping the good news to themselves, and so after talking with Jesus, he tells all far and wide, what Jesus has done for Him.
Each of us has been granted forgiveness from our sins. It is free for the asking, but to think this means we can just keep on doing the same things as before, is foolish and will only bring upon ourselves greater problems than before.
Jesus wanted to teach us the befit that the Sabbath can have and how it is not to be a burden but a blessing. He further desired for us to understand the relationship between Spiritual and Physical healing that will need to take place in each of our lives and that we cannot keep on sinning, but must by faith step out in faith, and accept the healing power of Christ.